For Your Valentine
Several of you may well forget this Valentine's Day...I usually do, because I really don't like the holiday. I mean, really, one day when you treat your significant other in a special way, and treat them disrespectfully the other 364 days in the year?
But you may decide that a "date night" is in order...and your significant other may not necessarily be into comic-based movies. In fact, they may request something nice...say, "Hey, why don't we see something with Sandra Bullock in it? I hear she's quite the actress."
Now admittedly, I would much rather do something more pleasant - like experience a root canal without the benefit of anaesthetic - than see a Sandra Bullock movie. However, I've learned how to avoid them, and would like to share for you two romantically-themed movies that you can watch with your non-comic loving significant other...and enjoy it together, to create that nice, atmosphere of romance and intimacy.
The first choice is 1996's The Whole Wide World, directed by Dan Ireland. It is the quite touching - and moving - story of a relationship between a young schoolteacher and an intelligent, yet eccentric, writer in rural Texas.
Based on the memoirs of Novalyne Price Ellis, The Whole Wide World manages a very delicate balancing act between connoting the splendor of rural Texas, the dynamics between this unusual couple, and also providing a strong dramatic underpinning. It's a touching movie that never gets too sentimental, too cloying, and yet manages to balance that against a really distinctive and touching emotional - and intellectual - relationship.
Much of the credit goes to the two leads - Renee Zellweger (in her first feature role) gives Novalyne Price a strong mix of intellectual curiosity. girlish naivete, and proper gumption in the right proportions. Vincent D'Onofrio also provides a really strong lead as Robert E Howard, portraying the writer as a man wrestling with demons in his personal life, who had many lofty ideas...and in many ways, whose writing serves as an escape as much for him as for his readers.
But the heart of the film, I think, is that it's about two people who have a strong love of words, both writing and reading them, and the movie is able to tell the tale without overselling it. Fortunately, both of the actors engage us in liking this couple as...well, a couple, and is able to sell us on the idea of this unlikely romance working. In short, this is a film that is underrated piece of comic-related movie making. This is a movie that straddles several sensibilities - including the indie film, the "chick flick", and the character study - while managing to transcend them at the same time.
Don't believe me? Wait for a sequence 15 minutes into the film, when Robert and Novalyne are on their first date, and Novalyne asks Robert about his character Conan. Using subtle sound effects and music, the movie connotes a little of Howard's inner life...but focus on D'Onofrio's performance. Tune out the music and the sounds of swords clashing, and you will find yourself drawn into the inner life of Robert E. Howard. This is a movie that, quite simply, is an unheralded romantic masterpiece - a meditation on a love of literacy, on intellectual and emotional connections, and the strength of friendship.
But you're probably wondering, "But Gordon, I need something a little more...well, action-oriented. Something with, like, explosions."
The Whole Wide World doesn't have explosions (but it does have Mr. D'Onofrio in a sombrero), but there is a movie that I think would make a great view for you and your non-comic-loving signficant other.
That movie is, of course, last year's RED, starring Bruce Willis.
RED tells the story of Frank Moses, a retired CIA agent, who finds himself engaging in a long-distance telephone relationship with a government customer service representative played by Mary Louise Parker.
However, before they can begin their first date, Frank has to avoid that hit squad that is lying in wait at his house...
If you are looking for a socially profound, intellectually stimulating film, well...RED ain't it. Loosely based on the Warren Ellis/Cully Hammer miniseries, the film is incredibly funny, action-packed, and let's face it, enjoyable in its own sake. Despite the amount of guns and violence, there is a great deal of wicked humor about the movie (after all, it is, at its heart, an action comedy). There are even plenty of opportunities for you to have those clever moments of realization, like
- "Hey, it's Doctor McCoy from the Star Trek reboot movie as the bad guy!"
- "Hey, it's Helen Mirren with automatic weaponry!"
- "Hey, it's John Malkovich with a stuffed pig!"
But at its heart, RED contains some really cute, genuinely moving moments - it does straddle the line between a "date-gone-wrong" film and a "let's-get-the-old-gang-together-for-one-last-job" flick, but it's the kind of movie that is a good, Saturday night film that won't tax your brain cells, but will - at the very least - touch your heart.
Which is, for me, what always happens when I see Helen Mirren with automatic weaponry.
So this Valentine's Day - or even after - when you want to have a "date night" with that special someone, you now have two recommendations that you can rent or order via on demand. In fact, these might be playing on your local cable movie channel. These are two movies that are best meant to be shared...and so, in a demonstration of fondness, I am sharing them with you.
And as always, read my blog, talk to me on the Comic Related Forums, and share your opinions and thoughts on this month's topic.
Until next time, keep watching!
Read More! For more of Gordon's writings, insights, and
general information, please visit his blog at blogthispal.blogspot.com.
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